The case of K-pop boy bands’ empty music charts

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Team ARMY52Hz for BTS, a group made up of BTS fans dubbed ARMY, posted a message last week encouraging other ARMYs to actively air “Yet To Come” so that it gets into the top 100 songs. of 2022. For now, it is uncertain if any BTS song will make it to the annual chart.

Boy bands are now nowhere to be found in the top spots of the streaming charts, not even in the top 50.

K-pop agencies report almost daily that boy groups are hitting new highs in CD sales, selling over a million copies in their first week. But how often do people actually listen to the songs of these boy bands?

As of Tuesday, the only boy groups in the Melon Chart top 100 are Big Bang and BTS. Big Bang’s “Still Life” (2022) is at No. 57 and BTS’s “Dynamite” (2020) is at No. 58, with four more songs below it.

Meanwhile, a wide range of second- to fourth-generation K-pop girl groups — including Girls’ Generation, Blackpink, IVE, and NewJeans — consistently rank at the top.

Songs by boy groups NCT 127 and Seventeen occasionally enter the top 100 early in the morning for a brief time, due to non-stop streaming organized by fans to boost their chart performance. However, as soon as the general public turns on Melon in the morning rush hour, boy bands are pushed off the charts. The same phenomenon can be seen on other platforms such as Genie Music, where the highest-ranking song by a boy band is also “Still Life” at No. 57.

As of Tuesday, the highest-ranking song by a boy band on the Melon Chart is

As of Tuesday, the highest-charting song by a boy group on the Melon Chart is Big Bang’s “Still Life” (2022), above, at No. 57. [YG ENTERTAINMENT]

At this rate, Big Bang is the only boy band to earn a spot on the 2022 annual Melon Chart, which will be announced early next year.

BTS songs like “Dynamite,” “Butter” (2021), “Permission To Dance” (2021) and “Spring Day” (2017) have long been on the national charts, but the group’s latest song “Yet To Come (2022) had relatively mixed success. It is not certain that “Yet To Come” will be among the top 100 songs of the year.

Team ARMY52Hz for BTS, a group made up of BTS fans dubbed ARMY, posted a message on their Twitter last week encouraging other ARMYs to actively air “Yet To Come” to get it on the charts. annual.

Traditionally, girl groups have been stronger in terms of streaming chart performance because they tend to embrace a more appealing style of music. However, even a few years ago, boy bands could also be found at the top of national charts with good success. Boy groups BTOB, Winner and Highlight have all topped the local charts in recent years. iKON’s “Love Scenario” (2018) was a chart-topping megahit that enjoyed great popularity among all genders and age groups.

BTS Boy Group [BIG HIT MUSIC]

BTS Boy Group [BIG HIT MUSIC]

Critics and industry insiders have long pointed out that K-pop boy bands’ fandom-centric promotion strategy drives them away from mainstream audiences.

Boy group NCT 127 released their fourth full album “2 Baddies” on September 16 and then went on meet and greet tours across the country. Meet and greets are considered to increase album sales since fans buy CDs in bulk to maximize their chances of winning a session ticket. Usually, a CD purchase is recorded as an entry into the raffle. NCT 127 sold more than 1.54 million copies of “2 Baddies” in the first week, which was its agency SM Entertainment’s best seller for the first week: even more than the groups’ past megahits. agency senior boys like Super Junior’s “Sorry Sorry” (2009) and Exo’s “Growl” (2013). However, in terms of actual popularity with audiences, it’s hard to call “2 Baddies” a hit.

NCT 127 boy band album "2 villains," which dropped on September 16, has sold over 1.54 million copies.  The main track "2 villains" is at No. 93 on the Melon Chart as of October 11. [SM ENTERTAINMENT]

Boy group NCT 127’s album “2 Baddies,” released on September 16, has sold over 1.54 million copies. Lead track “2 Baddies” has been at No. 93 on the Melon Chart since October 11. [SM ENTERTAINMENT]

“Nowadays, boy bands are completely focused on CD sales and the international market,” said a K-pop industry insider. “Even boy bands that are barely known in Korea advertise world tours as there is greater demand overseas. Concerts and CD sales are enough to cover their relatively unsuccessful performances on the streaming charts.

“As K-pop has grown globally, there have been positive results like internationally oriented content productions and a super boom in physical CD sales,” said the chief researcher of Circle Chart, Kim Jin-woo. “However, compared to the past, we are seeing fewer hit songs gaining popularity among multiple age groups in Korea.”

BY HWANG JEE-YOUNG [[email protected]]

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